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INTRODUCTORY   E8SAK.                                    91
sketch of the vegetation of India, and of the relation which
the Botany of its different great divisions bears to that of
neighbouring or distant countries. These remarks, from the
incompleteness of the data at our disposal, must necessarily
be vague, and may be viewed rather as indications of results
likely to be obtained than as absolutely ascertained facts.
We have already said that all the main elements of the
Indian Flora exist in surrounding countries, and to this is to
be attributed one of the most remarkable botanical features
of so extensive an area, namely, the very limited number of
peculiar families that are largely represented in it. Thus.'
Aurantiacea, Dipteracew, Balsamineae, Ebenacea, Jasminea
and Gyrtandracea are the only Orders which are largely de-
veloped in India, and sparingly elsewhere; and of these, few
contain one hundred Indian species. In this respect the
Indian Flora contrasts remarkably with that of Australia,
South Africa, or South America, or even with Europe, North
Asia, and North America. On the other hand, India contains
representatives of almost every natural family on the- globe, a
very few small South American, Australian, and South African
Orders being the chief exceptions; and it contains a more
general and complete illustration of the genera of other parts
of the world than any other country, whatsoever, of equal or
even of considerably larger extent. It is hence not surpris-
ing that some of the large cosmopolitan families are perhaps
less universally preponderant in India than in most other
continents, Composite especially being deficient, as are Gra-
minece and Cyperaeea in some regions, Leguminosa, Labiate,
and Ferns in others, whilst Euphorbiacea , and Scrophularia-
cea are universally present, and Orchidea appear 4to form a
larger proportion of the Flora of India than of any equally ex-
tensive country.
We assume the total number of Indian species included in
the limits of our Flora, to be from 12-15,000, but whether
this estimate is to be regarded as large or small, compara-
tively with other parts of the globe, we arc not prepared to